Living Without Car: San Francisco & Bangkok – What’s In Common

San Francisco – Living Without Car

The real estate experts at Redfin named San Francisco the best city in America for people who “don’t want a car, but still want to get around.” They observed American cities with populations in exceed of 300,000 and voted San Francisco #1 for walking, biking and transit. San Francisco was ranked highest overall followed by New York City, Boston and Washington D.C.

It’s a fact that most people in San Francisco don’t own cars and they can reach every neighborhood in San Francisco by walking and public transportation can basically get you anywhere you need to go. Also, it’s extremely expensive in San Francisco if you want to own a home that has parking – one need to plan an addition of 300,000 $ to the cost of your home.

Bangkok – Living Without Car

In Bangkok, in opposite to San Francisco, cost of parking is not significant and most of condos in Asoke and other central areas provide at least one car parking slot for every unit with no extra cost. Some, more luxury, projects offer 2 or 3 car parking slots for each unit.

Even though it’s not expensive in Bangkok to own a home that has parking, many people prefer to live without car – at least not drive car in Bangkok. The city traffic is certainly the main reason for this. Based on TomTom Traffic Index drivers in Bangkok need to spend on average 57% extra travel time stuck in traffic every day. It gets even worse in the mornings, when drivers spend in average 85% extra time in traffic. It is the worst in the evening peak time when car traffic slows down 114% in average for Bangkok. These numbers are average for entire Bangkok, while in Asoke and other city center areas car traffic is even slower.

Traffic Ranking

Many of us know that traffic is one of the worst things about Bangkok.  TomTom Traffic Index confirms this with a report that Bangkok is the second worst city in the the world in regards of traffic jams after Mexico City.

Top ten ranking of cities in the world with longest congestion level:

Ten worst traffic cities in the world
Ten worst traffic cities in the world – by TomTom Traffic Index

Congestion Level definition:  the congestion level percentages represent the measured amount of extra travel time experienced by drivers across the entire year. This is in comparison to measured travel times during uncongested (i.e. no traffic jams) conditions. They calculate and report the overall congestion level (all day) and the morning and evening peak hour congestion levels for each city.

During Songkran festival (Thai New Year) when most of people leave Bangkok and there are no traffic jams, it’s in fact, takes takes much faster to drive in Bangkok, confirming TomTom Traffic Index ranking.

Surprisingly, San Francisco is also ranked the second worst traffic cities in regards to traffic jams, but the USA, not in the world (#31 in the world). In average traffic in San Francisco is 36% slower because of traffic jams, while in the morning and evening peak times  congestion level is more than 50%.

Top ten ranking of cities in the USA with longest congestion level:

Ten worst traffic cities in the USA
Ten worst traffic cities in the USA – by TomTom Traffic Index

San Francisco Vs. Bangkok

motorbike taxis in Asoke Bangkok
Motorbike taxis in Asoke Bangkok

Both San Francisco and Bangkok are ranked #2 worst cities in regards to traffic jams, while Bangkok is ranked as #2 in the world, and San Francisco – # 2 in the United States. While both cities have traffic problems, a cost of having home with car parking in San Francisco is much higher than in Bangkok.

In San Francisco you don’t need to own a car and can use public transportation to reach every neighborhood. Very similarly, in Bangkok you can get almost anywhere by BTS (The Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly known as the BTS or the Skytrain, is an elevated rapid transit system in Bangkok), MRT (The Metropolitan Rapid Transit or MRT is a rapid transit system serving the Bangkok Metropolitan Region) or taxi. One special thing about Bangkok is motorbike taxi – one of the fastest ways to get around Asoke or other central area, especially when you in a hurry. By being able to dodge the almost constant gridlock and dart in and out between cars and buses, motorbikes are a quick way to get around, especially during rush hours. Considering Bangkok’s notorious traffic conditions, it is probably also the most advantageous!

Both in San Francisco and in Bangkok you should live without owning a car.